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Press Releases

Mayor Adams Launches Suicide Prevention Program for at Risk Youth in Bronx and Queens

New Program Will Support Youth and Families for up to Three Months Following Suicide Attempt Suicide is Second Leading Cause of Death in Youth, Ages 10 to 24, in U.S.

Suicide is Second Leading Cause of Death in Youth, Ages 10 to 24, in U.S.

Jun 21, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, NYC Health + Hospitals, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) today announced Caring Transitions, a new program to serve youth, ages five through 17, in the Bronx and Queens who are seen in a hospital following a suicide attempt or serious suicidal behavior.

“With nearly half of teens in New York City reporting depressive symptoms, and suicide as the second leading cause of death in youth, ages 10 to 24, we cannot wait; now is the time to take action and finally address the mental health crises affecting our children,” said Mayor Adams. “By meeting our kids where they are when they need treatment most, this program will bring a critical resource to youth at risk of harming themselves, so they and their families have the sustained support they need to live healthy and thriving lives. Whether it’s launching free tele-mental health services for teenagers, opening more mental health clinics in our public schools, or holding accountable powerful social media companies for their role in today’s youth mental health crises, our administration is focused on giving young people the tools they need to be healthy and happy.”

“It is heartbreaking that among our young people, ages 10 to 14, suicide is now the second leading cause of death,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “The initiative announced today to support young people most at risk adds to our layered and sustained approach to supporting our young people at every turn, including efforts we’re making to help protect them from the challenges growing up in an age of social media. That also includes delivering mental health supports in ways that work for young people, such as Teenspace, an app for young people, ages 13 to 17, to talk, text, or video chat with a mental health professional for free from their smartphone.”

“The increase in youth suicide is deeply concerning,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “Our emergency department team meets these young people immediately after they have experienced a trauma and today, we are announcing a new approach to support them in the critical weeks after they leave the hospital. We are grateful to our partners at DOHMH for building this program with us to provide a bright future for our youth.”

“The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has put connections to care at the center of our strategic response to our ongoing mental health crisis and we’re proud to resource this program, which intervenes after some of the most difficult moments in the life of a young person who is struggling,” said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “Increasing connections to care will help lower that burden so families can focus on what matters most — supporting the young people who need them and making space to heal.”

This program will engage young people within 24 hours of presentation in the hospital and will follow them through their hospital stay and up to three months post-discharge. Risk for repeated suicide attempts is greatest within the 30 days after youth leave a hospital, making the time during their hospital stay and immediately after critical to preventing another attempt. The program will also engage families and help connect them to care and to navigate the system to ensure that there is support in the community and in the home. Caring Transitions will be available in Queens at NYC Heath + Hospitals/Elmhurst and in the Bronx at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, Jacobi, and North Central Bronx. Consisting of a multidisciplinary team of social workers, youth and family peer advocates, and a psychiatrist, these teams will work directly with patients on skill development and connections to provide ongoing treatment and support. The program is funded through DOHMH, which co-designed the model and planned for its implementation in partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2022, suicide was the second leading cause of death among young people, aged 10 to 14, and the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. In New York City, Black (10 percent) and Latino (9 percent) high school students were more likely than white (6 percent) students to report attempting suicide. In New York City’s landmark 2024 report, “The State of Mental Health of New Yorkers,” nearly half of teens surveyed in New York City reported depressive symptoms of some kind. The report also found that, in 2023, 14 percent of teens surveyed did not receive mental health treatment because their families could not afford it, did not know where to go, or did not find convenient hours or locations. 

Just yesterday, Mayor Adams and DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Vasan released a first-in-nation report, which provides concrete data on the relationship between social media use and mental health among families. The report found that, among teens who report using social media daily, 90 percent report worrying in general and 56 percent report at least some depressive symptoms. Alongside the report, the city released resources to support parents, caregivers and youth-serving organizations

The Adams administration has long been vigilant in its pursuit to support New Yorkers, particularly young people, needing mental health care as a result of the toxic environment caused by social media platforms. Last November, Mayor Adams announced “TeenSpace” — the city’s tele-mental health service available to all New York City teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 years old at no cost. In its first six months alone, the service — created in partnership with online therapy platform Talkspace — has allowed more than 6,800 New York City teenagers to connect with a licensed therapist through phone, video, and text with 65 percent of users reporting improvement in their mental health and underserved neighborhoods, including Brownsville and East New York, leading the city in signups.

In his State of the City address earlier this year, Mayor Adams announced that DOHMH issued a Health Commissioner’s Advisory, identifying unfettered access to and use of social media as a public health hazard, just as past U.S. surgeons general have done with tobacco and firearms, and recommending parents delay initiation of social media for their child until at least age 14. This was soon after followed by the Adams administration filing a lawsuit to hold the owners of five social media platforms — TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube — accountable for their role in helping to fuel the nationwide youth mental health crisis and force tech giants to change their behavior, as well as the release of a social media action plan  to hold different platforms accountable, provide education and support to young people and families, and study the long-term impacts of social media on youth. 

Additionally, in April, in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and NYC Health + Hospitals, the administration announced it will open 16 mental health clinics in New York City public schools over the next six months to serve over 6,000 students across the Bronx and Central Brooklyn.  

All of these actions followed the release of “Care, Community, Action: A Mental Health Plan for New York City,” Mayor Adams’ sweeping mental health agenda — with over $20 million in new commitments — that invested in, among other initiatives, child and family mental health. The plan laid the groundwork for a 2023 summit on social media the Adams administration hosted with more than 150 advocates, researchers, technologists, and caregivers, in partnership with New York City youth, to lay out potential pathways for action to protect the mental health of children and youth.  

Alongside the Adams administration’s focus on mental health, Mayor Adams also launched “HealthyNYC” last November, an ambitious plan to extend the average lifespan of all New Yorkers, including reducing the impact of mental health related deaths like overdoses, suicide, and homicides by 2030, and by expanding, among other initiatives, access to culturally responsive mental health care and social support services, including early intervention for communities of color and LGBTQIA+ youth, and addressing the impact of social media on youth mental health and suicidal ideation to reduce suicide deaths. 

If you or you know are in crisis, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or dial 911 in case of emergency.


CONTACT: City Hall Press Office, 212-788-2958